Connecticut Street Armory - Table of Contents
History - 74th Regimental Armory in Buffalo, New York
The text below is an excerpt from
Warren R. Baltes, The Story of the 74th Regimental Armory in Buffalo, New York
The 74th Regiment was a local unit of the New York National Guard organized in 1854. For a time, it shared its headquarters with the older 65th Regiment, but it soon became apparent that the building used just wasn't big enough to accommodate both.
In 1868, the 74th moved its headquarters to an armory at Virginia and North William Street (later Elmwood Avenue). Here it stayed for 18 years, moving out in 1886 to the newly-constructed Virginia Street Armory. The three story brick administration building's exterior measured 61' by 120', and the drill hall measured 116' by 120'. As much of an improvement as this was over its previous quarters, it was short-lived.
In 1894, the 74th Regiment numbered over five hundred officers and men, showing a net gain of nearly one hundred during that year alone. The Virginia Street Armory proved to be just too small for this fast growing membership, and newly enacted military regulations made additional room for conducting drill a necessity. The fact was also generally known that this armory was the smallest occupied by any New York Regiment.
In his 1894 Annual Report, Adjutant General Josiah Porter brought to the attention of the State Legislature that the Regiment was "... in need of larger and more satisfactory quarters." Porter recommended that the State build a new armory for the 74th. At the time this recommendation was made, a coincidental event allowed the Regiment an opportunity to "strike while the iron was hot."
The Old Prospect Avenue Reservoir, part of a large network of city-wide fire fighting reservoirs, was relocated to the east side of the city. Its walls were leveled, allowing the site to become an abandoned, weed-grown eyesore. The Regiment was to eventually acquire the property, but not without much hard work and effort.